Four Keys to Successful Client/Vendor Relationships

Matt Good
10/18/21 12:47 PM

Remember your neighborhood and childhood friends. How many remain your close friends today? If the answer is none or not many, why?

Many times it's because we grow beyond what initially brought us together. The same thing occurs with client/vendor relationships. Whether that's the engagement, metrics, or technology that can't keep up with your company's direction, there are numerous reasons vendors are unable to grow with clients.

So don’t look for a vendor - look for a partner instead.

Client Requirements are Key

Just like friends, great partners grow with us and help us with more than best practices and new trends. They’re solving problems by identifying what’s missing or noticing where a slight adjustment means a beneficial gain. 

Sometimes it's a simple POC. One large commercial bank improved its operational efficiency after realizing the power of automation, gathering and sharing integral data for consumption by subject matter experts. Understanding the client requirements helped us scale from a POC consisting of 2,000 entities to a reliable solution that covers millions of records under management. 

It’s also about being a good friend. Good friends offer guidance. Best friends use the information they know about us to help us succeed. They’re focused on helping us reach our goals. In the same vein, good partners continue to measure, invest and grow their solution because they want to help your business be successful. 

Specificity is the Answer

While you don't have to be in lockstep with each other, an understanding of your industry and unique enterprise needs can go a long way to a healthy relationship.

Industry context matters. A highly marketed yet generalized AI solution may get your attention, but will it completely solve your problem?

A partner that has seen a thing or two - whether related to data, your industry, or finite details specific to complex enterprise data challenges - can help you with current and future data issues.

Trust is the Ultimate KPI

The most important thing in relationships is trust. Call, Zoom, or Webex with decision-makers - especially now that it’s challenging to meet in person. Get to know each other and understand where both sides are coming from. 

It might take a demo or two, along with several discussions, before building that trust, but most partners you do business with can prove trustworthy if the communication is open. 

It would be best if you got a good impression right from the start, but sometimes that isn’t possible. Pay more attention to partner actions instead of the pitch. Your sixth sense can be the ultimate guide to trust. 

Client Needs Drive Direction

Many vendors scream they’re client-focused. While that's the right thing to say, very few are focused on delivering what's required by the client.

Do you need some help determining if the person promising to solve all your problems is a vendor or a partner? There are four questions that come to mind you can ask:

  1. Is your offering customizable to our processes and operating model?
  2. How will you collaborate with us to innovate for our business?
  3. Is your solution compatible with our existing technology systems?
  4. How can you provide us with a competitive differentiation?

If they struggle to answer these questions, they’re focused on selling technology capability, not solving your business use case problem. I suggest you run away as fast as possible.

And just like the childhood confidant who has remained your best friend, partners understand what makes you tick and are interested in seeing your success.

Partner with us today. 

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